The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria held the Nigeria Cocoa Summit to address the challenges confronting the industry in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed, Mahmood Abubakar spoke during the event which was held in Abuja and said for several years, Nigeria which was once a major cocoa producer now lags behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia in cocoa production.
He cited current statistics where Cote’d Ivoire produces more than 2 million, Ghana with over 880,000, Indonesia about 660,000 tons while Nigeria produces just 328,000 tons due to old trees, lack of improved seedlings, climate change, pesticides overuse, and pest infestations.
Represented by Hajiya Karama Babaginda, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, the minister said the ministry in collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders were working towards increasing cocoa output to 1 million tons annually.
National Cocoa Plan
This is also in line with the new National Cocoa Plan as proposed to be sent to the Federal Executive Council by the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development and the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.
“The National Cocoa Plan 2020-2030 is aimed at promoting a sustainable cocoa economy; resurgence in production and industrialization to trigger a robust domestic consumption, farmgate prosperity, youth engagement thereby leading to increased foreign exchange earnings from exports of consistently superior quality beans and products,” the minister said.
Earlier in his address, the national president of Cocoa Framers Association of Nigeria, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, said the summit was to take into cognizance, the danger of EU/ECA and Crop Life International regulations on agro-inputs on minimum residues limits pose on the cocoa supply chain.
“The consequences of our nation unregulated or total liberalization of the cocoa industry which has deprived Nigerian smallholder cocoa farmers almost the sum of N50 billion yearly as a result of our action not joining Ivory Coast and Ghana in the collection of $400 per ton known as Living Income Differential (LID) paid to cocoa farmers aside the cocoa floor price in those countries by the World Cocoa buyers,” he said.